Made in Brazil: A Flourishing Fashion Industry

Not only is Brazil one of the most promising emerging economies in the world but also one of the biggest upcoming markets in the fashion scene. Thanks to the two major fashion events, Sao Paulo Fashion Week (SPFW) and Fashion Rio, Brazil is taking over the fashion´s world and getting rid of its stereotype as the land of tiny bikinis, rubber flip-flops and Victoria´s Secrets models.

SPFWDuring the past few years, Brazil has become the land of opportunity for the fashion and luxury Industry, attracting many international brands such as Chanel, Hermes, Burberry, Gucci, Goyard, Prada, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Missoni among others. Just in 2012, around 30 international brands made their debut in the country, mainly in Sao Paulo, due to JK Shopping Mall opening and Cidade Jardim Mall expansion. Today the country counts with around 70 international brands scattered in its main economic capitals such as Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia and Curitiba.

But Brazil is not just importing fashion and luxury goods. The country also has a developed fashion industry of its own, comprised by many brands and designers that are internationally recognized. One of the reasons why Brazil´s domestic fashion market has gained notoriety inside and outside the country is because of its two most important fashion events, Sao Paulo Fashion Week (SPFW) and Fashion Rio. Brazil´s first fashion week was held in 1996 in Sao Paulo and organized by Paulo Borges, by that time it was called Morumbin Fashion and it only got its current name SPFW, in 2001. Still under Borges leadership, SPFW is the most important fashion event in Latin America and the world´s fifth- largest event after Paris, Milan, New York and London. SPFW has 15 main sponsors, hosting 75.000 visitors willing to see the 50 Brazilian and international fashion brands that take part of it. Also founded in 1996, Fashion Rio began under the name Style Week and only after 2002 that the event won its current name. Both Fashion Weeks became very successful, gathering the most important Brazilian brands. Both events also drive millions in business, generate many jobs and increase exportation as well as attract thousands of people to their shows and to the country.

The combination of Brazil´s blooming economy, political stability, geographic position and natural resources has had a positive spfwimpact in the domestic fashion Industry. For this reason, the Brazilian fashion market grew less dependent on other countries becoming autonomy and empowering its own production, designers and trade. Brazil has many well-succeed brands and designers, ranging from ready-to-wear to shoes and accessories. As a result of Brazil´s positive scenario, Brazilians designers became very self-confident and optimistic about its promising fashion future and therefore, becoming very courageous to start spreading their business overseas. According to a report released in 2011 by TextBrasil, Brazilian Fashion Industry Export Program, the country had annual revenue of 67 billion of dollars, a 26.1 percent growth as compared to 2010. Brazil also had a total export value of 2.6 billion dollars and produced nearly 9.8 billion fashion items per year. In addition, the country is also the world´s fifth-largest textile producer, the fourth-biggest finished garments producer, the second-largest denim producer and the Industry employs 1.7 million people. The exportation number still is very small, only 5 percent of the total clothes made in Brazil are produced to export. The reason why is the high domestic production costs, the high manufacturing taxes, poor transportation infrastructure and old-fashioned labor laws. “Goods produced here are expensive, labor is pricey and taxes that have to be paid by businesses are very high.” said Fabienne Muzy, head of planning for Grupo Luminosidade, company that has Paulo Borges as CEO and it is responsible for the SPFW and also the major fashion events in Brazil. Therefore, to expand the Brazilian fashion goods exportation the country must cut taxes, reduce costs of overpriced labor and improve infrastructural limitations. However, Brazil shows that it has capability to solve these problems, some examples of successful Brazilian brands such as Osklen, Pedro Lourenço, Alexandre Herchcovitch and Carlos Miele that after gaining notoriety in the domestic market has already started expanding their business and going international.

Inside Brazil´s best known brands


osklenOsklen , Brazil´s leading luxury fashion brand, was established in 1989 in Rio de Janeiro as a lifestyle brand by the Brazilian entrepreneur Oskar Metsavaht. The brand ready-to-wear collections are well known internationally by its innovative exclusive design, quality in eco-friendly materials and special finishes as well as because of its mix of modern, urban and naturalistic aesthetics. In 2003, Osklen showed its collections for the first time at SPFW and by 2012 at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, in New York. Osklen has a vast international presence with flagship stores scattered in Brazil, Tokyo, Milan, Rome, New York, Miami, Buenos Aires and Puntal del Este. 

Established in 2002, Carlos Miele became fast one of the most important BrazilianCarlos Miele designers with his women’s Ready-to-Wear collections. Miele´s designs truly represent the Brazilian woman femininity and savoir faire. His prints inspired by Brazil´s landscapes and impeccable Brazilian unique crafting techniques such as crochet, patchwork and stitching, gave him international fame. Miele´s creations is frequent in the Red Carpet scene, his pieces have already been worn by several international celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce, Sandra Bullock and among others. Miele presents his fashion shows at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York and has flagship stores in Brazil and New York, his collections are also available in several countries worldwide.

Pedro Lourenço started his career very early, son of the leading Brazil´s designers Gloria Coelho e Reinaldo Lourenço, he designed his first collection at the age of 12. Lourenço launched his label in 2005, at the age of 14 at SPFW and at the age of 19, he made his debut at Paris Fashion Week, becoming the youngest Brazilian fashion designer in the international scene.

Established in 1993, Alexandre Herchcovitch is one of Brazil´s most famous fashion designer, becoming internationally known after his shows in the Sao Paulo, Paris, London and New York Fashion Weeks. Well known for his avant-guard designs and eclectic prints, skulls became his trademark in the 90´s. Currently Herchcovitch presents his collections only at the Sao Paulo and New York Fashion Weeks where his latest show was held on February 19th 2013 in New York.

All in all, during the past few years Brazil has not only attracted many international fashion and luxury brands but also, with its flourishing fashion market and opportunities, stimulated most of its talented designers and brands to expand their business overseas.